Staff Reporter

High Court orders status quo for a week

New system was to come into force from today

System was proposed in eight goods sheds

KOLLAM: The Kerala High Court has stayed a proposal to introduce round-the-clock operations at eight major railway goods sheds in the State, which was scheduled to come into force from July 1. Delivering the verdict on a writ petition on Monday, Justice S. Siri Jagan ordered that status quo be maintained for a period of one week.

The petition filed by Manoj Mathew, Abraham Ittoop and seven others on behalf of the Kottayam Railway Goods Shed Contractors Association was moved on June 27 through lawyer N. Reghuraj. It came up before the court on Monday. The main contention in the petition was that the Railways had not created facilities for round-the-clock operation at any of the eight goods sheds.

The petitioners also brought to the notice of the court that the system was not practical in Kerala, as registered headload workers followed a strict eight-hour duty pattern. They contended that if the system came into operation, they would become victims of heavy demurrage charges. This could even lead to rise in the prices of many commodities in the State, they said.

The petition also noted that though the goods sheds at Thrissur and Ollur came under the major goods shed category, the railway authorities had omitted these two sheds from the system. The seven-day stay was given on the basis of the submission of five Railway officers figuring as respondents .

The notification on the round-the-clock working system at the eight goods sheds was issued by the authorities on the basis of a directive of the Ministry of Railways for improving the turnaround time of wagons. The eight goods sheds are Kallayi, Valapattanam, West Hill, Aluva, Kalamassery, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kollam.